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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Disney FAQ: What is the Park Hopper option on a Disney theme park ticket?

One of the most asked questions I receive are about Disney theme park tickets.

There are so many options- you can just base theme park tickets, Park Hopper tickets, tickets that allow you to go to the water parks, tickets that don't expire... of course, for all of these perks you will have to pay for them.

Let's take a look at one of those Disney park ticket options- the Park Hopper.

This is one of the most used, and can be very beneficial for you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Create your very own Disney Playroom-Check out my Finding Nemo Playroom!

Last year, we decided to finish our basement. Our basement was unfinished- we were adding a mancave, bathroom, and for our kids, a playroom. I was most excited about the playroom- our living room was turning into a minefield of toys. I was always two steps away from an ER visit.

We created our very own Finding Nemo playroom! When I began my free Disney trip planning career, our local newspaper, the St. Joseph News-Press, came to my house and did an article. The playroom was the perfect backdrop for the picture!

(photo from the St. Joseph News-Press)

How did we decide our theme? Really, there are countless options-there are Mickey Mouse rooms, Cars, Disney Princess... and how did we make it?

Check out the link-anyone can do it! This could be a great way to get ready for the new Disney Art of Animation Resort (where they have Cars, Finding Nemo, the Little Mermaid, and Lion King rooms), or maybe it's a way to bring the hotel home with you AFTER the trip!

 Also, our very own Disney parks touch in the playroom!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Do it yourself-Create Disney Halloween Decorations!

I love holidays. I love Disney. You'd be shocked to discover that I have many festive Disney decorations around my house, but yes, it's true.

One of my favorite thing to do is to make my own Disney decorations. No one said creating your own Disney decorations is easy- but it is cheaper, and means so much more!

Also, I'm not the craftiest person. Don't you just wish crafty skills were just genetic for women? Much like I wish handyman skills were genetic for husband spent over an hour trying to put up a toilet paper holder in our bathroom last night (we've had the holder for over a year)......but hey, as long as we have patience, and don't give up, we can all get there one way or another! (For my husband, I would say he could get there, one hole in the wall or another!)

Anyway, now that I have small kids, I especially love taking on these craft projects. They get involved, have fun, and I know I will cherish these decorations forever. Win, win win!

Here's a picture of our end project- we made our own Mickey Mouse bat Halloween decoration!

Continue reading- I'll show you how easy and fun it was to make this!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Final look at Disney Baby Gifts

Let's conclude this week with looking at some of the new toys Disney has only just recently come out with.

Again, I ask myself-why didn't these come out sooner?

It just seems like a no brainer.... when you think of your childhood, that is more than likely the time you fell in love with everything Disney. And imagine if you just had a child- you're going to want to do the same. Which means gobbling up all those Disney toys, so you can allow for your child to fall in love too!

And really-all these items I've posted this week make such great gift ideas. They are all new, so you won't be able to pick them up at garage sales (unless maybe their child is a huge Universal fan and just refused to play with them).

Here's a quick preview-

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Disney Baby fever!

I posted Monday about some great baby shower gift ideas- and I decided, what the heck, let's continue that theme. I've been browsing through some of the new Disney baby items, and it's giving me baby fever!

I always get that "Why didn't they have that when I was having a kid (or was a kid)!" And now I'm even more frustrated- my son is only one, and now they are releasing some of the cutest gifts ever.... why couldn't they have done this a year ago!!!! Ok, I'm settled down now.

First, I found this awesome crib collection. Here's a couple of their offerings. I was always disappointed that I could never find Disney baby bedding for our crib. Below are a couple of gender specific options- they also have Lion King bedding, if you want to keep your little tiny baby a surprise.

You'll notice the mobile, personalized quilt, sheets, receiving blankets, lamp... I love it!

You can buy these items individually, or as a set for $190.

However, I think my favorite Disney baby gift would be these.....

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Perfect Disney Baby shower gift!

If you are like me, I'm always looking for the perfect gift to get my friends and families.

One thing that is always hard for me- finding the perfect baby shower gift.

Sometimes I don't know the people all that well, don't want to add on to the mountains of clothes they will be getting.... seriously, what am I to do?!

Well, I ran across some very cute gift options today-also, it's under $20! I'm sure you won't have to worry about anyone else bringing this to the party!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pros and Cons of Staying at Each Walt Disney World Resort

Here is an UPDATED list of pros and cons of staying at all Walt Disney World Resorts

Here are the benefits of staying in each Resort section:
NOTE:  All resorts have great theme pools & Bus transportation to all 4 theme parks, 2 water parks as well as Downtown Disney
Value Resorts - Size of a Days Inn with outside entrances to rooms
Pop Century
PRO - Centrally Located in the WDW, LARGE quick service food court.
CON - Larger Resort (Better to be in a preferred room) (only 2 double beds or 1 king)
All Star
PRO - Smaller resorts, Any Room is fine (Music resort has a suite accommodation to sleep 6)
CON - Distance to Magic Kingdom can be 30 minutes by bus (only 2 double beds or 1 king)
Art of Animation (Little Mermaid Rooms Only)
PRO - Centrally Located in the WDW, LARGE quick service food court. 
CON - Larger Resort (only 2 double beds or 1 king)   Little Mermaid is the ONLY area that sleeps 4 and is considered a value resort room.  No pool in the Little Mermaid area.
Unsure yet if this resort will be sharing a bus with the Pop Century during slow season.
Moderate -Resorts  Size of a Holiday Inn with outside entrances to rooms
Coronado Springs
PRO -2 Queen Beds (King Bed upgrade available), Table Service Restaurant & Largest Quick Service restaurant 
CON - HUGE Resort, Transportation Issues (MUST be in a preferred room location)  Convention resort with conventioneers that crowd the food courts at breakfast & lunch.  Can be a 25 minute bus ride to the Magic Kingdom
Port Orleans Riverside

PRO -2 Queen Beds (King Bed upgrade available)Alligator Bayou Side can accommodate 5. (extra bed is sized for a child),Centrally located in WDW, BOAT transportation to the Downtown Disney Area, Table Service Restaurant & a LARGE quick service Food Court with Pizzeria, Royal Guest Themed Rooms (After Princess & the Frog) are here for upgrade. (NOTE: Royal themed rooms are not equipped with the extra bed. They can only accommodate 4)

CON - BIGGER Resort, Preferred room suggested
Port Orleans French Quarter
PRO -2 Queen Beds (King Bed upgrade available)Centrally located in WDW, BOAT transportation to the Downtown Disney Area, SMALL resort, so any room is great. CON - No on-site table restaurant, very small counter service, have to walk to Riverside to experience many of the resort features,
Caribbean Beach
PRO - Great Quick Service Restaurant, Pirate themed rooms are here for upgrade.
CON - BEDS only 2 double beds (King upgrade available), HUGE Resort, Transportation Issues (MUST be in a preferred room), Pirate Themed rooms are far away from main buildings,  The Pirate themed beds have a foot board that makes it very difficult for someone over 6 foot to sleep in the beds.
Deluxe Resorts Size of a Holiday Inn with a Holidome or a Marriott (indoor corridors)
Animal Kingdom Lodge
PRO - Great restaurants, 5 minutes to Animal Kingdom, safari at your doorsteps, kids activities, Fitness & Children's Clubs
CON - 30 minutes to Magic Kingdom, all bus transportation
Wilderness Lodge
PRO - 5 minutes to Magic Kingdom, BOAT access to MK, fantastic pool area, access to Ft Wilderness Activities & Walkways, Fitness & Children's Clubs
CON - 30 minutes to AK

Deluxe Resorts - Size of a Marriott/Westin Resort
The Boardwalk, Beach or Yacht Club Resorts
PRO - 5 minute WALK into Epcot, 10 minute BOAT into Hollywood Studios, Boardwalk nighttime activities, Excellent Restaurant access, Fantastic kid crafts & activities, 15 minutes BUS to MK & AK, Fitness & Children's Clubs
CON - Not really one!
The Polynesian, Contemporary & Grand Floridian Resorts
PRO - 5 minute Monorail to MK, 20 minute Monorail to Epcot, BOAT to MK, incredible Restaurant access, Fantastic kid crafts & activities, spa access, Fitness & Children's Clubs
CON - 30 minute BUS to AK
Moderate Villa - Size of a small condo/trailer
All Star Family Suites
PRO -  Fridge, Microwave & sink in a galley kitchen, 2 bathrooms, double bed & bunks in separate bedroom & couch & chair convert to two single beds in living room.
CON - 30 minutes to Magic Kingdom, in slow season transportation is very slow, no onsite restaurants.  Exterior entrance to rooms.

Art of Animation

PRO - Centrally Located in the WDW, LARGE quick service food court.  Interior corridors & entrances!  Themed Suites (Sleep 6) offering guests to sleep in the movies!  Main pool is in Finding Nemo.  Lion King & Cars have quiet pools.  These suites each sleep six guests and have a kitchenette, 2 bathrooms, a master bedroom and 3 separate sleeping areas.  One new feature at this resort is the "Inovabed" - a table that converts to a bed in seconds. 
CON - Larger Resort   Unsure yet if this resort will be sharing a bus with the Pop Century during slow season.

Ft Wilderness Cabin's
PRO - Full Kitchen, Separate living area, BOAT to MK, sleeps 6, Camping community is wonderful!, great outdoor activities within the campground.
CON - 30 minutes to AK, Bus transportation is slow getting out of Ft Wilderness,
(Sleeping: 1 double, 1 bunk bed & 1 murphy bed double size)

Deluxe Villa Resorts - Size of a Condo (Single room Suite has a fridge & Microwave.  1, 2 & 3 bedroom Villa's have Washer/Dryer, Full Kitchen w/ Granite etc, Separate Living area NICE & Beautiful amenities.  The Villa Check in areas have family living areas with games/activities.)

Animal Kingdom Villas 
PRO - 1st class accommodations with view of the Animal Safari 5 minutes to AK, safari at your doorsteps, kids activities, Fitness & Children's Clubs

CON - 30 minutes from the Magic Kingdom not as many restaurants REALLY close.  ALL bus transportation

Bay Lake Contemporary Towers 
PRO - 1st class accommodations 5 minute Monorail to MK, 20 minute Monorail to Epcot, BOAT to MK, incredible Restaurant access, Fantastic kid crafts & activities, spa access, Fitness & Children's Clubs
CON - ummmm not a single one!
Beach Club Villas, Boardwalk Inn & Villas
PRO - 1st class accommodations, 5 minute WALK into Epcot, 10 minute BOAT into Hollywood Studios, Boardwalk nighttime activities, Excellent Restaurant access, Fantastic kid crafts & activities, 15 minutes BUS to MK & AK, Fitness & Children's Clubs
CON - ummmmmm not a single one!

Saratoga Springs & Old Key West  (MODERATE - DELUXE)

PRO - BOAT to Downtown Disney, Wonderful restaurant access, Spa & Fitness,  
CON - BUS transportation is a bit of a hassle from the Saratoga simply because the resort is HUGE.

This list was written by Melissa Slamb, owner of Magical Vacations.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Your chance to win one of two Disney Gift cards!

I reached 1,000 likes on my Facebook page, and to celebrate the milestone, I am giving away two Disney Gift Cards! The cards can be used at Disney parks, at the Disney Store, or the website!

If you'd like a chance for a free gift card, just go "like" my Facebook page here. Then, post a picture of something Disney on my page- could be from a family trip, your favorite ride, or just a picture of Mickey! Feel free to leave a comment about the picture as well!

Don't wait too long, because I will randomly pick the winners on Friday!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Boo to you!

Today marks the first day you can attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, the first of 23 nights!

There are so many cool things to do.

There's a special "Boo-to-you" Parade, which ends with the Haunted Horseman running by.

There's also a special "HalloWishes" fireworks show, featuring voices from Disney villains. There are also projections on the castle.

You can find characters dressed in special Halloween costumes, as well as some other characters you will rarely find in the park.

You'll also be able to trick or treat at various locations in Magic Kingdom- this is one time you won't get kicked out for dressing up in your favorite costumes!

Again, the theme is "Not-So-Scary," so it's appropriate for all ages.

Click the link for some extra tips!

Friday, September 7, 2012

First look at Disney's new Fastpass+ Experience

Today is a special post- I have been extremely lucky to have a guest blogger, Paul Gibson. Paul is going to Disney World soon, with his family- and they have been selected to take part in the trial run of the Fastpass+ Experience!

Paul has so graciously agreed to share his experience. Read on to find out about the future of Fastpasses at Disney!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Disney FastPass+

I thought I would share an email with you that Disney sent to Disney travel agents. It is about the new FastPass+ system and how they are testing it on on some lucky guests. Later this week I will have a guest blog from a family that got chosen and is getting ready to go to Disney in two weeks. They go to prebook their spot for Wishes, how cool is that?

At the Walt Disney World® Resort we’re constantly looking for ways to make the Guest experience even better. As a part of these efforts, over the next several months we’ll be testing enhancements to our very popular Disney FASTPASS® service at the Walt Disney World Resort. The test, called Disney FastPass+, will allow a small number of Guests to make Disney FastPass+selections for some of their favorite experiences at Magic Kingdom® Park before they even leave home. 

During this test period, select Guests who are registered to use Disney’s Magical Expressservice will be offered the opportunity to go online to pre-select four Disney FastPass+experiences at Magic Kingdom Park. Guests eligible for this test will be notified via mail, at the mailing address provided during the booking process. It’s important for you to pass along these invitations to your Clients in order for them to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

While this exciting concept is currently only in the test phase, we’ll continue to share information on the wide range of new, innovative experiences we will be testing and implementing over the coming year, which are designed to make a Walt Disney World vacation even more magical! Stay tuned to Disney Travel News for more information.

LeFou's Brew Coming to You!

I cannot tell you know excited I am about Disney World's newest restaurant, Be Our Guest, that will be located in the new Fantasyland area. I think Be Our Guest will quickly become a favorite spot. I've posted on Facebook how long on the phone I have been with Disney to book Be Our Guest- but I'm sure it's going to be worth every minute I spent once you get to experience it.

Well, my excitement doesn't stop there. There is also a quick service restaurant called Gaston's Tavern. It looks like it will be worth a stop as well.

From the Disney Parks Blog-

"We think this signature beverage will be a big hit at Gaston’s Tavern when New Fantasyland opens later this year – LeFou’s Brew, named after Gaston’s sidekick in “Beauty and the Beast.” It’s no-sugar added frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow, topped with all-natural passion fruit-mango foam. We bet the souvenir steins and goblets are going to go fast."

Does that not sound amazing?

Even better- they could fill this thing with sewer water, and people might buy it, because they are selling them in wonderfully themed souvenir mugs. My daughter is going to love having these at home-again, just another way you can bring some of the magic from Disney home with you. Check it out!

Disney is really knocking it out of the park with the theming- from the rides, que areas, Art of Animation, and now this. Even if you have been recently to Disney, you are sure to get a brand new experience.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Disney Dining Plan- In Your Car!

Disney has recently released a new line of products- air fresheners.

So now you can take some of your favorite parts of Disney on the road with you.

The scents are (in order) Turkey Leg, Mickey Premium Bar (the ice cream Mickey head), Candy Apple, and Mickey Waffle.

Each one retails for about $6.

Yesterday, I posted about how it's never too early to start planning for the holidays- these would make excellent stocking stuffers for the Disney fans at your house!

They are sold at both theme parks, Disneyland and Disney World. If you aren't planning a trip soon, you can always purchase park merchandise by calling 877-560-6477 (toll Free), or you can hold out hope they'll be on the website.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Trick or Treat... Time to start your Halloween planning!

If you're like me, I love celebrating holidays. 

I also don't believe you can ever start decorating and planning too early.

If you are dressing your kids up for Halloween as a Disney character, you better make sure they are accessorized!

Check out what just popped up on the Disney Store website- these have to be some of the cutest trick or treat bags! Here's a little preview- I know I'm getting these for my kids! 

Read on to find links, prices, and to see the rest of the bags-Cinderella, Brave, Cars, and more!